Evil Christianity

10 December 2005

The Church has done some terrible things in the past. The Crusades, the Inquisition, and other events in Christianity’s history have had horrible aspects. Christians have tortured, maimed, and violently killed those with differing beliefs. Even today, televangelists and others use the name of God to reap huge profits, while priests commit horrible acts of pedophilia. Criminals use the name of God to justify their horrible crimes.

Nonbelievers often point out the carnage and death Christians have caused in the past and present. However, contrary to popular belief, these facts do not undermine Christianity. I do not wish to deny that Christians have done evil things in the past and continue to do evil things today. I do not wish for us to forget about these things, and I do not wish to rationalize them away. However, the fact of the matter is that the actions of human beings have no impact on the truth or falsity of the Christian religion. Christianity is based on historical truth, and the fact that Christians have done evil things in the past does nothing to effect whether or not the resurrection took place.

In fact, if anything the evil acts of men only confirm certain teachings in the Bible. The Bible indicates that men are evil at heart, and this seems to be the unquestionably true when one looks at what men have done in the past and present. However, the evil actions of men do not disprove historical events such as the resurrection. Therefore, it is plain to see that the atheistic argument in this case is completely irrelevant, a total non sequitir.

If you examine atheistic websites, you may observe that a large portion of the arguments against Christianity have to do with the evils committed by Christians past and present. These are not logical arguments, they are merely emotional objections to Christianity. It is often claimed that Christians hold to their belief system for purely emotional reasons. If this is so, then why are such a large amount of atheistic objections to Christianity based on nothing but emotion? This seems to be an inconsistency.

Christianity and a morbid history?

The most common attempt to justify atheism by means of evil Christian deeds is to point out the rather troubling history of the Church. The most famous examples of severe misconduct of the Church are the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the Salem Witch trials. Although I believe an argument can be made that the wrongdoings of these events were not only done by Christians, and that the amount of evil performed is sometimes exaggerated, I do not really wish to get into such a comprehensive study. Nor do I wish to rationalize such events away, nor do I wish to “justify” these events.

However, I find it important to point out that these past mishaps of the Church in particular and Christianity in general do nothing to disconfirm historical realities. Christianity is a religion based on the historical truth of the resurrection. As such, it is not disproved because Christians have committed horrible deeds in the past.

On top of this, the fact that the Church participated in such activities does not mean that such things were justified by Biblical teachings. Rather, those instances in which there was severe misconduct are easily attributed to the greed and self-interest of the men involved, as well as unjustified hatred and paranoia of those who hold different beliefs.

Psychological Effects of Christian Belief?

Additionally, the supposed psychological effects of Christian belief are often pointed out. Christianity, it is charged, causes people to be irrational, ignorant, and perhaps even stupid. It is claimed that belief in the doctrine of salvation of faith alone abolishes true moral responsibility and encourages blind faith. Supposedly, Christianity leads to decreased self-confidence due to the fact that it teaches that all people are sinners and unworthy of God.

The list could go on, but there are several problems with these claims. Firstly, I am a Christian, and I feel as though I am a reasonably secure individual with good self-confidence. (It should be mentioned that being humble can also be a virtue, and the fact that I know I have fallen short causes me to be humble, while not destroying all of my self-confidence.) Additionally, despite the fact that I believe that good works are not sufficient for salvation, I feel that I am still diligent in my effort to perform good deeds. And if the doctrines of Christianity encourage blind faith, then I am certainly off the mark, as I have spent countless hours creating this website in an effort to defend the rationality of the Christian faith. Actually, it seems like Christianity as a whole has done the opposite of support “blind faith” (from what other religious viewpoint can you find such a large amount of apologetics material?).

In fact, the claim that Christianity causes psychological problems in general is quite unfounded. I am aware of absolutely no evidence that Christians or religious believers in general are more unstable. Until this sort of claim is documented with rigorous psychological studies, it should be discarded.

Secondly, even if Christianity did cause the majority of believers harsh psychological repercussions, there is no reason to think that the Christian doctrines “should” evoke such responses. If my belief in original sin abolishes any semblance of self-confidence I have, then the problem may be with me rather than with the doctrine. If I believe in “blind faith” because of the doctrine of salvation, perhaps I have missed the mark. So, even if there was a correlation between psychological instability and Christian doctrines (which is highly doubtful), it does not imply that these doctrines, properly interpreted, should result in psychological problems.

Thirdly, and most importantly, such psychological problems do not disprove history. Even if the doctrine of original sin abolishes my self-confidence, furthermore, even if it should destroy it, we still have not gotten anywhere with regard to historical truth. Christianity, being based on historical facts, could still be true. The supposed psychological repercussions of Christian belief therefore have no bearing on whether or not Christianity is factually correct.

Christianity brings out the worst in people?

Another common claim is that Christian faith brings out the worst in some individuals. Christians are arrogant, intolerable, and ignorant, purportedly. “Fundamentalists” pound the Bible and make offensive signs that read “TURN OR BURN!” Christianity also encourages us to separate from nonbelievers, which furthers intolerance and leads to intense ethnocentrism.

Again, I don’t believe Christianity has caused me to display any of the aforementioned qualities any more than I would have were I not Christian. I try not to be arrogant. Even though I am confident that my beliefs are true, I will always admit it when I make a mistake. I tolerate others just fine, and I am not involved in racism of any kind. Those who know me can probably attest that I get along with just about everybody. And although there is much I must learn, I don’t think one could label me as ignorant. I certainly do not enjoy taunting others with the phrase “you’re going to burn in hell” except as an occasional joke when the situation permits. And I know many Christians who are much more level-headed than me. So it is certainly not true that Christianity always brings out bad qualities in people. All of my bad qualities are in spite of, not because of, my Christian beliefs.

Once again, the claim that the majority (or even a significant minority) of Christians are worse people because of their belief is highly doubtful. To my knowledge, there is no evidence for such a conjecture, and thus it should be dismissed.

However, even if the majority of Christians were intolerable, arrogant, and ignorant, there is no reason to suppose that Christianity should evoke this sort of behavior. Besides, this just once again emphasizes that no human is perfect, including those who are Christians. This fundamental concept is not only unobjectionable to me, it is also positively affirmed in the Bible.

Most importantly, the bad behavioral patterns of some Christians does not affect historical truth in any way, shape, or form. What we have here is another emotional objection to Christianity, and such arguments simply won’t cut it.

Hitler was a Christian!

Of all the issues that are discussed in this article, perhaps the most hotly debated topic is the issue of Hitler’s religious persuasion. The debate over whether or not Hitler was a Christian is found all over chatrooms, message boards, and Internet articles. Atheists generally claim that Hitler was a Christian, and Christians generally claim that Hitler was an atheist. Interestingly, the truth may be that he was neither. 1 Either way, the religious persuasion of Adolf Hitler is a difficult, perhaps impossible, thing to determine.

I used to be involved heavily in the debate over whether or not Hitler was a Christian. I felt that he was an atheist, and I thought that non-theists were merely trying to shame Christianity by placing such a notorious figure in its ranks. However, I now realize that it does not really matter.

There is no doubt that Hitler was an evil man. The mere mentioning of the name Adolf Hitler often brings horrible thoughts, and for some, horrible memories. However, Hitler’s actions are not supported anywhere in the Bible or the teachings of Jesus Christ. So, even if he was a Christian, there is no reason to suppose that his actions were justified. Also, once again, it must be reiterated that Hitler’s actions do nothing to affect whether or not the resurrection took place.

What about the good stuff Christians do?

Those who hold to the position of atheism are quick to point out slip-ups in Christianity’s history and the supposed psychological and character-affecting doctrines of the Bible. However, if we must suppose that bad deeds are evidence against Christianity, then are good deeds evidence for Christianity?

There are many positive things the church has done in the past and many Christians who perform great deeds. One example of a great Christian deed is found in the case of Dirk Willems, who paid the ultimate price for following his Biblically-based moral code. 2 He was executed by the Church for teaching heretical doctrines, but he gave up freedom in order to save the life of a man that wished to take him captive. Doubtless the skeptic would focus on the evil acts of the Church in this scenario, but instead we should focus on the great deed of Dirk Willems.

Furthermore, despite the fact that it is claimed that Christians have vigorously fought scientific progress, a great number of the founding fathers of scientific disciplines were in fact Christians. 3 Professor David N. Livingstone argued that “The idea that science and Christianity have constantly been loggerheads is a gross distortion of the historical record… Indeed, Robert Boyle, the great English student of chemistry, believed that scientists more than anyone else glorified God in the pursuit of their tasks because it was given to them the interrogate God’s creation.” 4

Churches and Christian Organizations have started charities, homeless shelters, and fundraisers to help the poor and unfortunate. I know that some Christian organizations near where I live have positive outreaches in the community. Many of the Christians I know are very good human beings and they all have many positive effects upon society.

So, is all of this evidence in favor of Christianity? If the evil deeds of Christians are evidence against Christianity, then surely the good deeds of Christians are evidence in favor of that worldview! Most likely, few atheists would accept this argument, and for good reasons. It’s because the simple fact that Christians have done good deeds in the past does nothing to affect historical truth. If the atheist wishes to deny that good deeds performed by Christians are evidence that Christianity is true, then they must admit that the moral choices of men have no bearing upon whether or not an historical event actually happened. Therefore, all the atheistic objections we have discussed in this article are exposed for what they are, which is a complete and total irrelevancy.

An atheist may counter that the elucidation of the evils of Christianity was not meant to disprove the worldview. But this is a sham. If the atheist admits that these arguments are irrelevant (which they inevitably must), then only one reason remains for articles on the evils of Christianity to be posted on sites which purportedly refute the Christian religion. This reason is an underhanded tactic known as poisoning the well. The tactic here is to introduce doubt into the minds of readers without using actual arguments. Emotional appeals are used to persuade individuals to a certain point of view without a single rational argument being used.

Why would an atheist use such arguments?

We have thus arrived at the conclusion that the atheist is either using non sequitir arguments or poisoning the well. If this is the case, then why are these arguments so common?

One reason, I believe, is that it is extremely easy to make these sorts of arguments. All one has to do is research some evil act of Christians past or present, write an emotionally-charged article about said event, and then post said article on a website for all to read. Christians should not be intimidated by these articles since they are completely irrelevant.

A second reason, perhaps, is because such arguments tend to have much success. Emotion often overrides logic. You will notice that in a good deal of Christian-turned-atheist testimonies, emotional reasons had a deciding factor in the individual’s conversion. Ironically, many atheists claim that Christians are guilty of using manipulative emotional arguments in order to win converts. The secular community should take a good look in the mirror before they fling out such accusations at others.

Conclusion:

It is important that Christians know about the evil acts committed by the Church and Christians in the past and into the present. Once again, however, the truth of the resurrection does not stand or fall on the ethical choices of those who have held the title of Christian.

Notes

1. See http://homepages.paradise.net.nz/mischedj/ca_hitler.html for an interesting article on the subject.

2. See Paul Toews, Dirk Willems, a Heart Undivided http://www.fresno.edu/affiliation/hc/dirk.htm for Willem’s story.

3. See David Coppege at http://www.creationsafaris.com/wgcs_toc.htm This site has a growing list of important Christian Scientists of the past and present.

4. Cited from Lee Strobel, The Case for Faith (Zondervan: 2000) p. 219|

Recommended Further Reading:

1. Case for Faith, Chapter 7: Church History is Littered with Oppression and Violence. (Pages 195-221).






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  1. you forgot to list all the lies of the church such as hell & the rapture. christians are poisoning our childrens minds and i personaly cannot wait for it to be exposed as the evil it is, you all will face christ’s sword.do you actully think jesus, wich is historicaly proven not to be his name anyway, another lie. would approve of this mental visualation that you put your children through. just to keep them fearful? shame on you.


    c oliver    Mar 12, 06:56 PM    #
  2. are you serious?

    christians poisoning our childrens minds?

    I would seriously like you to name one child that is actually fearful of God and/or Jesus?

    and if you find one, then I want you to get that child psychology evaluated

    And I don’t know where you get your information (But I would like to, just so I can disprove it), but I’m pretty sure it’s wrong


    RevDeath    Apr 13, 07:39 PM    #
  3. After reading the entire article I have come to the conclusion that the 1st post is not only unjustified, but also proves the point of everything said in the article above.

    The above comment by coliver is both emotional and unfounded.

    If you’re going to try to disprove christainity then maybe you should have sound reasoning behind your comments and actually read the article in which you’re trying to refute


    RevDeath    Apr 15, 01:30 PM    #
  4. Now I’m an aethiest, but I still love and completely agree with this argument. Cause only the weak would fall back on emotional decisions such as that, without any real backing. What I dislike is how this article seems to lump all athiests together, because no matter what group you look at you will find people who choose their beliefs on emotional decisions such as this. Seriously look at those around who also follow your beliefs, and look at the reasons for which they do believe what they do. There are simply those who are strong in their beliefs and those who are weak, and in my opinion those who are strong in what they believe, no matter what they believe, earn and deserve mutual respect and those who are weak earn and deserve utter contempt. Once again other what I just mentioned there are only a few things that i truly dislike about this argument, though I don’t think it’s anything ground breaking in deciding anybody’s choice of beliefs or disbeliefs. (side comment: I’m not saying I’ve never used these comments, but only when talking to someone who are in themselves weak and just accept what they were raised on without any thought or quetioning.)


    — ........?    Apr 16, 05:15 AM    #
  5. I agree with that comment (although you didn’t really state any reasons for your belief, and I am yet to find a atheist who actually bases their beliefs on anything but emotion. Being unwilling to read novels that are based from a christian prespective or even being unwilling to any research on the topic counts as being emotional) I’m a christian who has read novels based from a atheist prespective, so why is it so hard for a atheist to read a novel from a christian prespective. (by the way above person [I know who you are, but I won’t name you] I’m talking about my brother, not you)

    I have been far from growing up only to believe what my parents believe. My mother doesn’t feel the need to teach her children religion (Mainly because she’s too busy with her career to teach her children anything), and my father doesn’t feel the need to pick up the phone and call his children once in a while.

    Everything I’ve learned about christianity I’ve learn by myself.

    And I’m anything be a biased opinion. I’ve probably been about every religion at least once, but I can say without a hint of doubt that Christianity it the one true religion


    RevDeath    Apr 16, 05:32 PM    #
  6. I am an agnostic, to clear that up before hand so i am not written off as an “emotional atheist”. This arguement of yours, though a nice try i suppose, is weak and does not hold any weight in my mind, nor should it in the mind of any other reasonably intelligent person. First of all, let me point out your biggest flaw, the in other words non-existent foundation for your ‘arguement’. Christianity is NOT based on history. The bible is not a historically accurate document, as much as you have ‘faith’ in it being just that (by the way faith equates to lack of reason, believing something without needing proof of it, that is true faith; just something to think about). Do you not account for the innacuracy of scribe processes in those ancient times, the possibility of passages being added, removed, changed at will by whomever transcribed the bible? The fact of the matter is that the only “proof” (imagine me making an insulting gesture with those qoutations, that is my intent) of the bibles validity is in itself, which is insane. Now by my understanding, Christians believe not only in God, but the signifigance of Jesus being is son (as said in the bible at least, which i think is obviously neither an accurate or even usable source of historical FACT to anyone with the power to think critically). What do you then say to other religions, who contradict your positions with their own holy texts; their so called words of god? You simply can say, for lack of any further proof, “Because were right”, “Because the Bible is right”, you beg the question, nothing more. And just to comment on some negative side effects of Christianity psycologically, i personally cannot find any outright negative effects through personal experience and observation. Unless you consider a numbing of the mind negative, or the will to be hearded and told what to do for no good reason to be negative as well. This is something Christians seem quite content doing, but if they do so peacefully because they feel that this is the right path in life to take, i emphasize peacefully, with no forcing of belief on others, than i see it as their loss (or gain); i guess thats a matter of opinion. The rest of this page is rediculous, irrelavant information that has been innacurately represented (all atheists only posses the ability to produce emotionally charged critisisms of Christian violence? That is the tip of the iceberg concerning debates over religion, that is that it can produce great evil). In short, have fun turning your kids into brainwashed Jesus lovers, or angry rebels, thats what religion will produce of them. Enjoy sapping the desire for true knowledge and understanding from them, and anxiously replace it with religious dogma and half-truths (at the best). I would say Christians can only make emotional arguements, for they have nothing which else to argue (well, they can peddle their bullcrap to imbiciles, but anyone with half a brain can cut down a theist “arguement” in defense of their religion, and do so with one hand commiting a sin, like punching the clown). If anyone still reads this obscure website, and happens to post after me, i dont give 2 shits about my grammar, i know i speak in runon sentences and have poor spelling, i dont need to be reminded.


    matt    Jun 14, 12:31 AM    #
  7. Ok, after a smoke and some Mt. Dew, i realize that my previous post dealt more with disregarding Christianity as even worth debating, in terms of its validity and merit. That is not the topic of this particular html whatever, i am almost certain i cannot change the minds of the ‘faithful’ or the ‘believers’. To make a more relavant response, on the question of is Christianity evil?, i think that no is the appropraite answer (but it is followed by a but). BUT, it, like humans, like human creations (religion) has the potential for evil. In the case of its potential, we have seen (heres my overly emotional atheistic response by the way, if thats what you must call it to demerit it in your own head)Christianity, along with many other popular religions realize that potential in the past, present, and surely it will continue to be seen in the future. Greed, lust, desire, and things of this nature also bring about evil in men/women, so i am not singling out your faith, only suggesting you not deny its potential for causing evil. Like i said before, in my opinion i dont think it makes all people who practice it crazy, or ‘evil’, or whatever some might say about the mental effects of Christianity. I will say though that it chisels from them the desire to question, the foundation for developing knowledge and reason. If you make blindly accepting whatever you are told by a certain person to be unchallengable fact, are you not at least in some sense of the word insane? If your pastor, or whatever you call your preachers, informed you a new new testament has been found, and now you must sacrifice animals and babies to god, and mutilate your genetalia, and other absurd things so that you might secure a happy eternal life, would you do so? Dont you (not the specific actions) do this now? Dont you accept what is not proven fact if it were, im guessing only in this area of your life. You demand detailed and accurate data concerning science and mathmatics, but not the foundation for your way of life? This seems strange to me. And in the sense that relgion creates bigotry, there is a kind of evil it can produce. Condeming homosexuals for example, even if just in your mind, is evil in my book. You may pity them, or just look down on them and hope they burn in hell, i cant claim to read your mind, both of these things are negative. Pity is not of generosity, it is of a condescending life view, pity = disgust in terms of religious toleration of alternative lifestyles. In terms of preventing scientific progression, religion, Christianity included is inherintly ‘evil’. You oppose, unless your a very liberal religious folk, in which case i appluad your openmindedness, things like stem cell research. THings that could save countless lives, and improve the lives of many more who are suffering, or know or are related to someone suffering. Try using a Greek God every time you refer to god, see how rediculous it sounds? Thats how it sounds to someone who is not a believer when you speak of your God. Im sure the greeks were just as sure as you that posiedon was ruler of the sea, and zeus would zap there ass with lighting if they didnt kill enough babies, but it turns out they were wrong. The inability to admit possibly fault is ignorant, and dangerous aspect of religion (not to just pick on Christianity, Catholics and Islamic religions included). Youd have us back in the cart and buggy days if you could, thats why your beliefs are viewed as evil, or stupid, irrational, dangerous, ingnorant, (insert negative adjective here) by people who use their brains rather than suppressing them.


    matt    Jun 14, 12:55 AM    #
  8. Matt,

    You criticize my article because you say that I am incorrect about Christianity being based upon history. However, you fail to see the point. Even if, as you say, the historical foundation of Christianity is very sketchy (due to changing stories and innacurate translations and whatnot), Christianity is STILL based upon historical facts. Most importantly, Christianity is based upon the resurrection of Jesus Christ. You may say the evidence for the resurrection is lacking, but that doesn’t change the fact that the resurrection is the basis of Christianity. Since the resurrection is purportedly an historical event, so Christianity is based upon history.

    Next, you accuse me and all Christians of randomly believing everything the Bible says without critical thought. However, this is not necessarily true of all Christians. Many Christians do think critically about the Bible and maintain their belief or come to believe in Christianity. If you approach the New Testament documents as purely historical sources and not as divinely inspired documents, you can still (quite easily) come to believe in the truth of Christianity. For example, I think that the New Testament writings, as historical documents, provide excellent evidence for the resurrection of Christ. We can use scholarly criteria such as the multiple attestation and embarrasment to discover which texts in the Bible are likely to be accurate, and using these criteria we can establish the truth of the resurrection. So I think you are wrong about needing to use blind faith to believe in Christianity.

    By the way, you also say that anyone with half a brain can tear down a theistic argument. Well, I presume that you have at least half a brain, so why don’t you read my article on the Cosmological Argument Here and refute it. You can either post some comments or you can establish a debate with me if you like.

    Sincerely,

    Kyle


    Kyle Deming    Jun 16, 09:12 AM    #
  9. there is far too much information on this website IT SUCKS we need to do our r,e project and this is not helping


    jeponaliy    Jun 26, 12:26 AM    #
  10. A sandal-wearing Hebrew carpenter as the son of God? Very prosaic, I always thought. In the time of Yesu, there were many competing godheads, such as Mithras and Ahura Mazda of Zoroastrianism fame. I am an informed atheist, and I suggest that you all purchase and read a book called Rabbi Jesus, as well as anything on modern physics. I will not claim that religion does not help people individually, because it does, but the groupthink it creates is positively delusional . . . but then, reality is only what a majority of people agree upon at any given time.


    Zoroaster    Sep 24, 06:00 AM    #
  11. Basically you say that because some christians did horrible deeds does not undermine christianity. Perhaps true. However, it brings us to the question, does the world NEED christianity? Remember, all those crusades and witch hunts and tortures and burnings at the stake were done not only in the name of christianity, but actually by people who intensely believed they were doing god’s bidding. They were, as they thought, doing a noble deed, and were absolutely convinced that they were working for the holy trinity. They were not merely doing these things for a selfish cause. They really believed it to be a religious duty. If they were never introduced to the bible or the church, they would not have organised mass torture and witch hunts of women for reasons like “looking unnaturally young.” And remember often it was the pope himself (successor to peter?) who ordered or sanctioned these atrocities. And the world actually believed they were doing pious things. When the head of a religious order does such things, it does damamge the credibility of the religion, though you may argue against it now. The whole world no knows these were atrocities, because the age of enlightenment heralded a new line of thinking. In the days of the crusades people used to argue that witchcraft does exist, giving much the same arguements that modern christians do to justify god. Now if christian teaching didn’t prevail, these atrocities would never have been committed – that’s a fact you cannot refute. There have been no confucian crusades, no atheistic witch hunts, and no instance of an atheist going and torturing someone to death merely for his religious beliefs. So the point I make is that while those attrocities may not disprove christian teachings, they do lead us to ask if religious techings are necessary.


    its me    Oct 3, 08:24 AM    #
  12. Its me,

    First, what do you define as a christian? Do you even realize that they probably are, um, not christians?! Does being “convinced” prove that their actions are right? Scripture does not support such conduct. You claim it “argues” against the credibility of Scripture but these arguments are just an appeal to emotion. Why can’t you just agree with other intellectual atheists?

    Does the world need christianity? That’s an irrelevant question. One could ask, do we NEED you or do we really need truth? Necessity doesn’t prove whether one is true or not.

    It’s interesting how many people are quick to point out the actions of others but don’t realize the good things that christianity helps in.

    Get this straight, it’s not the religion which is at fault but the person himself! Where did you get that the “pope” is the successor of Peter? If you actually read acts, churches was a LOT different back then. Now-days, the catholic church has a “ultimate” authority who has the correct interpretation of Scripture. Where does Scripture say to do this? In fact, it’s the Holy Spirit that helps achieve a correct understanding of the Scriptures.

    You wish to criticize christianity but it seems you forget those atheists who commit murder on their side. Even Richard Dawkins, a popular atheist agrees that this has happened. Your arguments don’t hold any value to the truth of christianity.


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    翻译公司    Dec 24, 11:17 PM    #
  14. As an atheist, I reject this argument outright. Christianity is capable of being harnessed for good or evil. It is a set of hypotheses and directives. One may use it to inflame people to murder, or move them to compassion – and I do not believe that the first was Christ’s intent.

    What the argument from Christian Evil DOES address is the claim that Christianity is necessarily a force for good, or that the acts of Christians necessarily carry the weight of a moral God behind them. In other words, it’s a curb against arrogance. A similar argument can be made against blind belief in the inherent goodness of technological progress.


    Paul    Apr 23, 07:38 PM    #
  15. I will be back! Good work. Very nicely done. Keep up the great work.


    edwin    Jun 1, 11:05 AM    #
  16. Hello! Good work, Thanks!


    fas15381    Dec 25, 09:29 AM    #
  17. One thing that I do notice about Christian apologists is that they often argue from the standpoint of Christianity being the only ‘truth.’ Perhaps this is why they argue that Christianity is based on historical fact while failing to admit the fact that if it were not for Constantine and his favorable treatment of ‘orthodox’ Christianity, Christianity as we know it today and through much of history would look decidedly different or perhaps would not exist at all (keep in mind that Christianity was incredibly diverse before Constantine). I am new to the site and have not read all of the responses, but I am hoping to find more convincing arguments for Christianity. At this point in my life, I only see it as an antiquated means of policing peoples lives.


    Jocephus    Dec 26, 06:30 PM    #
  18. Jocephus,

    Whether the survival of Christianity is dependent upon Constantine or not is immaterial to the point of this article and to my more general claim that Christianity is a religion based on historical facts. Moreover, it should be pointed out that this article is not meant to be a positive defense of Christianity, but rather it is only meant to be a defense of Christianity against the claims of some critics who imply that the evil deeds of Christians undermines the truth of Christianity.

    Sincerely,

    Kyle.


    Kyle Deming    Jan 3, 09:08 PM    #
  19. I’m not a big fan of Christianity.

    Just because the Christian religion (or several religions, for that matter) isn’t a violent religion doesn’t change the fact that it has caused, and continues to cause lots of violence. So many people say that “oh, those people burning down abortion clinics… they’re not REAL Christians.”. But they are. Just as real as the rest of you. Nobody wants to take responsiblity for them. None of the “good Christians” want to admit that their religion causes violence and conflict. And I think you guys should own it. It’s something that has to be addressed. And I’ve always hated how one of the mail goals of Christianity seems to be to make you feel guilty about existing. “You are all sinners. Repent! Be humbled. Feel bad for having basic desires. Reach for unattainable moral goals, that way you’ll be overwhelmed with inadequacy and insignificance and keep striving for the perfection and self-gratification that, no matter how desparately you work for, will never come. Your feelings of inadequacy are necessary to show respect to God. Only the hope that your feeble attempts at altruism will somehow earn you a place in the eternal kingdom keep you going, and even then your own insecurities and doubts make confidence that you will have a desirable afterlife virtually impossible to achieve”. Whatever floats your boat I guess. My advice to you would be to stop and seriously evaluate the pros and cons of putting your faith and devotion into something that breeds so much hate and guilt.


    Aiyana    Jun 23, 03:21 PM    #
  20. Aiyana, I think you should take a closer look at Christianity, instead of posting an ill informed argument.

    You speak of the Christian afterlife, and how it is,“virtually impossible to achieve.” Seriously, I wish people would do some research before they post comments like this, not knowing what they are talking about.

    also you’re doing the same thing that many Americans did in the wake of 911; just like people lumped all Muslims together as terrorists, you lump all of the normal, law abiding Christians in the same boat with the bad eggs who call themselves Christian. We shouldn’t be blamed for others mistakes any more than every Muslim person out there who isn’t a terrorist.


    Dave    Dec 7, 06:26 PM    #
  21. “I would seriously like you to name one child that is actually fearful of God and/or Jesus?”

    I grew up in a fundamental christian family. I am now in therapy for anxiety and all 5 forms of sexual dysfunction along with depression. I wish my parents had not created so much anxiety in my head. Bring a child up to believe a series of dogmas related to religion appears to have emotionally damaged many people. Some joke about being recovering Catholics. Because a child doesn’t have the capacity to think in complex and formal thoughts (See Piaget’s stages of development) religion to a child is about guilt about sin and fear of god watching them and hell. So, my question is, is indoctrination of a child into a belief system wise?


    poisened child    Apr 17, 03:49 PM    #
  22. This article reminds me of a quote from C.S. Lewis. “Of all bad men, religious bad men are the worst.” I love the detail you go into when tackling these issues, not only from a logical standpoint, but also from a psychological one.


    BenjiMester    Apr 20, 06:38 AM    #
  23. A quick note on the process of logic, without wanting to get into the merits of the arguments…

    Throughout this essay, you demand strict and convincing evidence of every opposing argument, or it must “be dismissed.”

    When you come to defend the Christian argument, you use your own subjective experience as dispositive proof to the contrary.

    In other words…

    “I am a good Christian” does no more to prove that Christianity is the Truth than “Hitler was a Christian” does to prove that it is evil.

    You are right to deny that evidence is proof for the other side, but please don’t fail to see that in your own arguments.


    Jeffrey    Apr 20, 05:39 PM    #
  24. I’m Jewish and in no Way Christian in fact, to me Christianity is the same thing as Idolatry, however I have A question to Ask Christians why is it it’s OK for you to slander the Talmud but if we speak negatively about Jesus we all of sudden we become the spawn of Satan, that’s very bias if you ask me, when ever I ask this question to A Christian, all I get from Christians is ‘‘my Religion is the Only Truth’‘ see to me that’s absolutes, funny thing in Judaism we Don’t Believe You must be A Jew to Go to the Next World, this Question is not an Attack it’s A Diplomatic Question.


    Nethanel Zion Ben-Yahushua    May 3, 01:00 PM    #
  25. The Crusades were heroic and glorious. Anyone who believes the Crusades were evil IS WRONG. PERIOD.


    Steve    May 29, 06:34 AM    #
  26. You claim to be a skeptic yet assert things like Christianity being historic truth or that it’s a fact that Christ was resurrected. These things are not historical, they are legend! The clear majority of academics wouldn’t be atheist and agnostic if it were historical. I don’t see why when you point out that actions done by people demonstrate their common religion must be false is wrong that you must add the needless and un-demonstrated claim that Jesus was real and rose from the dead. Let’s just leave it at “doesn’t change history.”

    The first thing that needs to be pointed out is the claim that Christianity has had, and still has some very bad men as followers (factual) doesn’t have anything to do with refuting the resurrection. The point that religion makes good people do evil things is a counter to the claim that Christianity is somehow a force for GOOD in the world. Your argument misrepresents what atheists are saying and so is a strawman.

    “These are not logical arguments, they are merely emotional objections to Christianity.
    Actually, no. They’re counter apologetics to people who think and say Christianity is a source of “goodness” or “good morals/ethics”, or more preposterously that one can’t be good without god when clearly god is irrelevant. Christians make claims about Christianity’s goodness, atheists remind the Christians about what the religion has caused people to do. These “emotional arguments” do not exist in a vacuum.

    “If this is so, then why are such a large amount of atheistic objections to Christianity based on nothing but emotion? This seems to be an inconsistency.”
    Actually it’s a fib. Can’t win them all, man.

    “On top of this, the fact that the Church participated in such activities does not mean that such things were justified by Biblical teachings. Rather, those instances in which there was severe misconduct are easily attributed to the greed and self-interest of the men involved, as well as unjustified hatred and paranoia of those who hold different beliefs.”
    I’ll admit you’re right on this point if you can reasonable explain why people would hate witches so much that they’d put them to dead if not for the religion they follow in which it says to kill witches. Tell me how killing witches is not justified by the bible. Tell me how killing people for heresy is not justified by the bible. Tell me how it is that it’s so obvious to Christians now, an age of valuing civil liberties and basic human rights above all else, that those things were wrong back then AND Christians didn’t realise this at the time in spite of the alleged ‘goodness’ of the bible?

    Furthermore, (because I’ve seen this rationalisation a lot from Christians) how could it be that in ancient times, it was OK (and “good/right”) for god to say “Thou shall not suffer a witch to live” (Ex 22:18) then and not how. How could it be moral one time and not another. You can’t tell me the genocide of the Amalekites wasn’t biblically sound.

    “In fact, the claim that Christianity causes psychological problems in general is quite unfounded.”
    You’re ignoring the reality then. You know there is a support group called RR, Recovering from Religion. Chapters of the support group have sprouted up all over the us where people can go anonymously (because they often need to since if they’re found out to no longer believe, they’d be shunned and ostracised) where they can be supported in their failure to believe what mob rule demands they must. How open, accepting, moral, humble, psychologically level you might be is irrelevant to their lives, to their constant fear of hell-fire, their feelings of inadequacy, their non-existent self-confidence after a life of being told they’re scum. Religion has made these people barely functional and we help them try to become strong, to learn to respect themselves, to let go of their childhood hell-fire trauma and most of all to be happy. What about in Africa? What about the children in Africa that are ostracised, burnt, downed, killed, chased out of the village, beaten, unfed and terrified all because they’ve been accused of being a witch, and as it says in the bible, they deserve to be killed. What about them? The motivations of the parents and community are 100% religious and they’re unquestionably Christian. If you can’t see the real human pain done by this belief system, you are insane.

    “If my belief in original sin abolishes any semblance of self-confidence I have, then the problem may be with me rather than with the doctrine.”
    Oh yes, blame the victim. Telling people they are inadequate makes them feel inadequate regardless of whether the doctrine is true. Watch the episode of Louie, entitled ‘God’ to see how these believes can and does make people psychologically damaged. It’s child abuse plain and simple.

    Any doctrine which diminishes self worth of man ought to be taken VERY VERY seriously.

    “..Christianity, being based on historical facts..”
    Yea, keep saying it. Maybe that’ll make it true.

    “So it is certainly not true that Christianity always brings out bad qualities in people.”
    No one said “always”, that’s not the argument. Christians claim their religion is good for the world, or a source of good at least (ie. “good ‘Judeo-Christian’ morals makes the west so tolerant”). The immediate counter-claim of this is that a lot of Christians are horrible, and a lot of those horrible Christians are horrible because of their faith. You only have to look at the Human Development Index, the measure of the best countries based on quality of life wherein it ranks countries by things like crime rates, under age pregnancy, abortion rates, % of population in jail, % employed, rate of life satisfaction, equality, etc. and compare that to the list of countries sorted by religiosity. There is a negative correlation meaning one of three things:
    1) Nasty people gravitate to religious countries;
    2) Coincidence;
    3) religion causes people to be nasty in highly religious countries, but not remotely in primarily atheist countries.

    Just try to explain to me how the fundamentalist Christian right of the USA are advocating a social and moral roll back to the 1950s but aren’t doing it because of their faith!

    “To my knowledge, there is no evidence for such a conjecture, and thus it should be dismissed.”
    You’re really terrible at being a skeptic. A skeptic would know the statistics and a skeptic who is somehow Christian would repudiate the negative correlation between religiosity and well-being. Is god trying to make life cushier for atheist countries hoping they’ll turn to him in gratitude?

    “I used to be involved heavily in the debate over whether or not Hitler was a Christian. I felt that he was an atheist, and I thought that non-theists were merely trying to shame Christianity by placing such a notorious figure in its ranks.”
    He did say he was Christian in his propaganda, and it said on every Nazi uniform’s belt “Gott mit uns.” Whether or not he was a Christian is, as you say, irrelevant. But you must be able to see what the atheist is saying, surely. He used Christianity. He wouldn’t get so much power at the time if he didn’t affirm Christianity. It’s pretty much a fact that no atheist would get elected to the presidential office in the USA. Statistically atheists are the least trusted minority in the country yet vastly outnumber, Jews, blacks, gays and so forth. If an atheist wants to be president in the USA today, he has no choice but to use Christianity for the votes. This is not a good thing. In Hitler’s case it was the underpinning in the rationale of his propaganda against Jews, as he lent from hundreds of years of Christian anti-Semitism including quoting the father of protestantism, Martin Luther who wrote On the Jews and their Lies.

    You rightly say that divining Hitler’s religious beliefs is likely impossible. If this is true, then the claim that Christians make that he was an atheist is automatically a lie – even if he secretly were an atheist merely using religion, its not something Christians can apparently know; lying.

    “So, is all of this evidence in favor of Christianity? If the evil deeds of Christians are evidence against Christianity, then surely the good deeds of Christians are evidence in favour of that world-view!”
    No. I really don’t think you understand the argument here. Christians claim that Christianity is right and true and good. Whether or not Christians do good, its the bad things done in the name of Christianity that falsifies the claim that the Christians just made.

    It’s like a falsifiable theory in science. Take evolution for example. No amount of evidence for evolution will ever prove it, but even one demonstrated bit of evidence against would entirely disprove it. A rabbit fossil in the Pre-Cambrian, a bit of DNA that could not evolve, anything would completely disprove it regardless of the positive proof. Now, the claim theists are making isn’t as falsifiable as ToE, but it is something that no amount of evidence for could prove, but a large and very real amount of evidence against Christianity in regards to making people good necessarily disproves the idea that the religion is GOOD (not that it must be false for the same reason). It’s still conceivable that a religion be both bad for people to believe and true.

    Christians play the ‘context’ card a lot, so I think it’s only fair they be held to a high standard regarding being aware of context when they try to refute arguments from others. This is a case where the Christian has definitely got the wrong end of the stick. Atheists have plenty of arguments against the truth-claims of Christianity, this argument (the argument of the bad Christian) is not one for the debate of Christianity’s veracity, but the rather the consequences of faith.


    Mike Wolfe    Jul 1, 12:39 AM    #
  27. i am a christian, i am in no way anywhere near as intelligent as the people who have posted before me, but all i say is this, i know there is a God, it is not something that can be explained if he could be explained or proven there would be no reason for faith, of which i have little, i don’t believe im going to heaven, i will surely burn in hell, i am not worthy, you say this would cause depression and it did for a time, until i actually sat and read the bible actually read the words trying desperately to understand them because all i want to do in this world is make it better, not to sit her and argue, what good is that, it does nothing but create anger, i know i am rambling but as i said before im not as intelligent as all of you and its one in the morning to boot, but as i was saying i truly believe im going to hell and i am not afraid, i have always taken my punishment with dignity in life and i will do the same in death, i just want everyone to get along, i dont look down on the gays, the muslims, blacks or whatever many of them are my friends, and i cannot judge them because there are things that i have done that are much worse to be honest, im rambling again very sry, but i just want to say one more thing jesus’s greatest commandment ( and honestly the accuracy of his name does not really matter for he has many ) was to love your neighbor as yourself, and you must ask yourself, who is your neighbor? your neighbor is everyone who resides on this earth with you. for a long time this troubled me which is why i was sad because i did not love myself so how could i then love my neighbor, when i finally accepted that God loves me no matter what, then i no longer cared of my past, nor my future, only my neighbor’s future and his well being, so i ask you why must we argue, why must we hate, when love is so much more enjoyable


    not worthy    Nov 19, 09:11 PM    #
  28. I haven’t used as those arguments as proof the resurrection did not happen as you suggest an atheists does. The burden of proof for that isn’t on an atheist.

    I bring up the horrible nature of the Christian religion, to point out WHY this religion needs to go away.


    Kevin    Feb 25, 04:51 AM    #
  29. Christianity is the Antichrist.

    Good people who consider themselves “Christian” need to step away from the religion, or re-brand it. What do you think of when you hear “Nazi”? Do you think of all the good Germans who hated and despised what their fatherland had come to? No… people generally think of the evil fascist dictatorship that killed millions of Jews simply because of who they were. And that’s exactly what I think when I hear the word “Christian”. I don’t consider anyone who calls themselves Christian to be any better than those who represent the cult. The Swastika is a Hindu symbol for fortune, but if you see someone with it tattooed on themselves or wearing it on their clothing, you won’t think that they are trying to follow a sacred belief, you’d instantly see hate come from that symbol. I’m sorry to inform you Christians, but…THAT’S HOW THE REST OF THE WORLD FEELS WHEN THEY SEE A CROSS!!! (A symbol that has always represented Guilt, Judgment, Torture, Persecution and Death) “Real” Christians, in my opinion, are better off if they disband from the religious cult, just as Buddhists are better off not wearing their symbol for fortune and luck. Both Christianity and the Swastika started out with positive meanings but have, over the years, developed hateful attributes that have overshadowed the original message. Christianity has been the cause of millions of senseless murders and wars since Jesus “died for our sins” nearly 2,000 years ago. CHRISTIANS started the Crusades. CHRISTIANS were responsible for the Spanish Inquisition. CHRISTIANS came to America and wiped out the Natives. And NAZI’S WERE CHRISTIAN!!! Don’t forget, the current Pope used to be a Nazi! Jesus died for us, so we killed and persecuted for him in return. If you consider yourself Christian then actually consider the company you keep.

    I believe it would be best if people just chose to live their lives according to whatever they believe is right without the piety of a cult fan-club. If you follow the teachings of Yeshua Ben Yosef, a wise, enlightened teacher and philosopher, then live by his example. He ransacked the Church because he saw how corrupt it was. He prayed alone in the garden, not in public for everyone to see and hear. He spent his time with thieves, prostitutes, the sick and the poor. He denounced religion!!! Even if you believe that he died for our sins and that he is the son of God, that’s just your belief and that doesn’t have to change, but the institution you have aligned yourself with, “Christianity”, is inherently evil and it is what you have chosen to be a part of…just as many good German soldiers aligned themselves with the wrong institution back in WW2. Choosing to be a part of an institution means that you support the actions of that institution.

    Christianity is lost, but the positive messages it was built on are still as strong today as they were when the lessons were first taught. You don’t have to call yourself a Christian to choose to live by Jesus’ example, just as you don’t have to label yourself to be recognized by God.

    “Believe in what He tried to teach without the rigmarole. Piety is not what the lessons bring to people, it’s the mistakes they bring to the lessons.” —Jerome Bixby (‘Man From Earth’)

    I became a reverend online one day to marry two friends of mine, and since then I’ve taken the title to heart. Not that I preach in front of a church, but I do feel a strange sort of calling to examine spirituality. I was discussing Christianity to a friend of mine, about Progressives and Fundamentalists, and how Progressives are like Liberal Christians. It seems so political to choose titles and sides. If you have to put a title to what you are and what you believe, then that’s what works best for you, but I truly feel that this world and everyone in it would be better off if they didn’t follow an institution, and instead reflected upon what they know and believe and bounce ideas off of other people who know different things and have different beliefs.

    In my belief, God is androgynous. I refer to God as IT, as opposed to HE or SHE. I call God IT because to me God is so vast an infinite that the only thing that makes sense is for God to be everything in the entire Universe. Science states that Matter and Energy, which are the same thing, (E=mc2), can be neither created nor destroyed. If God created everything than it is logical to assume that everything must be a part of God. So why did God create us? To live and experience EVERYTHING. God is all knowing because God is sensing everything from the senses of all lifeforms in existence. Collectively, all life is God. We are here to live our lives as we see fit, to do whatever we can to gain more knowledge and more experiences. That is what Jesus meant when he said he was the son of God. Jesus, like everyone else, IS God, he was just one of the first to make that connection. ‘Ask for forgiveness from God and you will be accepted into Heaven’… Well that is true to an extent. See, because YOU are God, all you have to do is forgive yourself for anything and everything you know you have ever done wrong in your life. They say your life flashes before your eyes when you die. I believe that experience is simply an energetic upload of all your experiences into the consciousness of “God”. Everyone goes to the same place when they die, but their interpretation of where they go and what they feel is completely reliant on how they lived their lives. If they did things they know were wrong, then they have to face every single thing about themselves, and a clear grasp of Karma—right and wrong—will be revealed to you when you transition into the spiritual realm. Hell is a place of mental anguish over mistakes we can’t forgive ourselves for, it is not fire and brimstone and it is not eternal. For people who feel separated from God, it is easier to ask someone else to forgive them than it is to forgive themselves. And to me that’s what the essence of Jesus is.
    Jesus is the idea that anyone can be forgiven for anything, so long as they want it. People don’t understand that this ability has always been a part of THEM. If you can’t forgive yourself for the things you’ve done, and if you don’t ask forgiveness, then you are going to be in that state of mental Hell until you’re ready to move past it. Your experiences are added to the collective consciousness of the Earth and then your spiritual frequency is wiped clean so that you may be reborn to collect new experiences from a different perspective.

    That is what I believe God wants, for everything living to do what it wants to do, to gain more experience, more knowledge and a greater understanding. We work in a symbiotic relationship with the Omniversal consciousness we call God. God lives life through us, and we are alive because God is. God knows all because GOD IS ALL. Good and Bad are only differences in opinions and perspectives. It’s all about point of view. The Bible was written from the point of view of different men who touched the spirit of God within them. They each had their own morals and agendas, and because they all felt the God within themselves but perceived it as a separate entity, they just assumed that their own ideals and morals were the only things that really count. This is wrong. They didn’t understand that EVERYONE IS GOD and WE ARE ALL ONE. We all are meant to live our lives only from our own perspectives under our own morals and beliefs, what others say and do is not exactly what YOU are supposed to say and do. Diversity is what makes God’s life interesting.

    People think you need to worship God, but if they only knew that they’d do it better by living life for themselves and for others, as God is a part of us all and is never a separate entity, then there would be no need for religion. Instead religion could be replaced with total understanding of Science, Philosophy, Spirituality, Physics, and all other subjects that point to truth. There doesn’t have to be religion for us to find peace.


    Riffkin    Jun 20, 08:29 AM    #
  30. this article is pointless. There is no emperical evidence for the ressurection….its part of folklore and mythology. does not make your religion real. In fact it is very likely that your ancestors were probably tortured and converted to chirstianity and you continue fighting for some lost cause. believe what u may but stop shoving it down people’s throats…


    — stormchaser    Oct 24, 05:54 PM    #
  31. Let me first inform you that the Christianity most people follow today is based on a Fraud, Myth and Fantasy that JESUS is GOD. Second Bodies do not resurrect to heaven. While there is sufficcient evidence that Jesus was a Messenger and Prophet of God based on the Old Testament and the Holy Quran. There is sufficient Historical facts that when the Europeans translated the Hebrews Bible into the English Geneva Bible and then Translated by a Buller called King James, it was deliberately corrupted to Enslave races of people. Euro-Centric Christianity is a Fraud, Myth and a Fantasy. The body of Jesus is buried under the Earth never to return. Jesus first coming was spiritual and so was his second coming. And men like you brain wash people by showing the atrocities of Religion and then twisting it to prey on the minds of others.

    TENNERSON KEITH FOX:Phd Religion & Science.


    TENNERSON KEITH FOX    Oct 27, 05:50 AM    #
  32. One of your main arguments throughout this text is that; although, “The Church has done some terrible things in the past” like, “The Crusades, the Inquisition, and other events in Christianity’s history”, “these facts do not undermine Christianity”. I have to say that I fundamentally disagree with this belief. The main issue is not that it was the church or even christians that were performing these horrible acts, but that they were doing it SPECIFICALLY in the name OF CHRISTIANITY. This to me is undeniably significant when assessing the pros, cons, merits, validity, or intentions of this religion.

    There undeniably has been much wide spread utilization of christian text and values and teachings for “evil”. It therefore cannot be discounted that, regardless of how or why, either many many many people have misinterpreted christianity, or that there are fundamental flaws within it.

    If so many people can find motivation and reasoning for their historically and modernly vile acts, WITHIN the teachings of christianity itself, then it is not so pure a religion as it purports itself to be


    — Big B    Feb 3, 05:27 PM    #
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